With a number of Hunter only races staged on Easter Monday this weeks Rules Round-Up will focus on those races at Cork and Fairyhouse.
Most Caste finished runner-up in this event last season when beaten less than two lengths as favourite by She’s Got Grit. Paul Pierce’s mare has been contesting Open races thus far this season finishing in the frame behind Boxing Along at Dromahane and behind Carloswayback at Ballydarragh prior to a success over Send For Slim in a mares event at Borris House last month. Regular rider Andrew Latta again takes the ride and the biggest dangers to here look to be Strange Talk who won well at Dromahane last weekend and who showed some useful form in points as a youngster and from Bee Fallon who saw off Strange Talk by two lengths when the pair met at Lismore last month.
Winter Magic was going well when coming down at the penultimate fence on his second outing in Hunter Chases at Limerick at the end of December and looks capable of taking this Maiden event. Jimmy Mangan’s gelding has had just the one start since, that coming when justifying odds-on favouritism at Ballinaboola in January and his sole defeat in points came on debut when beaten by the useful rules performers Fox Run, Minellahalfcentury and Indian Castle on his debut two years ago. Of the remainder Likeable Rogue has won his last two outings for Tom Costello including at Durrow three weeks ago while
Goulane Chosen had looked good in winning his maiden at Nenagh back in January and though he disappointed in a similar race to this won by Tell Us More at Gowran Park last month he looks worth giving another chance to here. Owned by Mary O’Donnell the gelding had won a nineteen runner event from Rock On Fruity and Paddy The Deejay who were both successful next time out and he looks capable of taking this under Richie Kiely. Only two of the other contenders have won a race, including the Eugene O’Sullivan-trained Curraghbower who won at Dromahane last month under today’s jockey Maxine O’Sullivan and the son of Winged Love is the selection to follow Goulane Chosen home.
Mossey Joe looks by far the most likely winner of this Hunter Chase following his solid third behind Warne at Aintree earlier in the month. Enda Bolger’s charge had earlier taken a point at Dromahane by ten lengths on his return from an ownership enforced absence and looks likely to take this for the second year in succession with a new jockey in the shape of Brian Linehan taking the ride, and a valuable seven pounds off in the process. Nevskij took the Maiden Hunter Chase on this card twelve months ago and though he’s been disappointing in the main since then he returned to form when winning at Ballynoe in Open company from Davy From Milan last time out and looks the most solid option to take minor honours.
Zipporah has plenty of experience having had eleven starts between the flags in addition to four outings under rules to July 2013. The Michael McGee-owned and trained daughter of Millenary recorded her second success at Belclare on yielding ground last month and was impressive in doing so. Prior to that the mare had finished runner-up behind Uppertown Society but she appears to be an improving sort who stays well and has plenty of experience and can put that to good use in this. Annamatopoeia can be the best of the remainder coming off two successive wins at Ballydarragh and more recently when seeing off the boys in a winners event at Lingstown last month.
Ray Hackett does well with his bumper performers and he looks to have a nice prospect on his hands in the shape of the Fruits Of Love gelding Rock On Fruity. The selection finished behind Goulane Chosen on his debut at Nenagh back in January prior to seeing off fifteen rivals at Ballyraggett last month. The Gordon Elliott-trained Double Scores appears to be the pick of the Gigginstown House Stud early entries following his success at the second time of asking at Tyrella in February and he and stablemate Free Expression, a winner at Dromahane at the end of December can fight it out for minor honours.
The opening Four Year Old Maiden at Lisronagh last weekend proved to be a highly eventful affair with no fewer than five of the ten runners exiting the race at some stage including the favourite Sizing Matterhorn. The favourite departed too early in the race to tell just how he’d have fared in the finish but two to note here are the eventual winner As Jussiniere and final fence faller and likely winner Feather Lane.
Feather Lane was making his second outing following a pulled up effort at the start of last month and was two lengths clear of his rival when coming down at the last. Owned by the Monbeg Syndicate and trained by Donnchadh Doyle he was a cheap purchase as a yearling back in November 2011 but clearly has plenty of ability and the son of Court Cave looks to have a bright future ahead of him under rules on decent ground. Eventual winner As Jussiniere is another having his second outing in points, with his previous outing coming when well beaten behind Childrens List at Belharbour two months ago. By the high class sire Network As Jussiniere appeared to appreciate the better ground here and looks the type who can win a bumper in the coming weeks for his current handler John Halley before embarking on a career over obstacles.
Peggy Do, a daughter of Pierre had disappointed in the main since falling when holding chances on her debut at Tattersalls Farm back in December. Anthony Black’s six year old mare scored easily here having led early on and romped to an emphatic success over Belle’s Choice and Girly Girl. The time of the race wasn’t great but she couldn’t have done this any easier and looks likely to have a future over hurdles once handicapped over 2m6f-3m on decent ground.
Rohan’s Pride had always looked a horse of some potential for his small trainer Robert Honner and he finally came good for the trainer in the concluding Older Horse Maiden at Lisronagh last weekend. Rohan’s Pride had finished third beaten less than a length under his jockey here David O’Leary when last seen out under rules at Tramore last August and assuming connections head back to the track he looks capable of scoring at that same meeting in 2014 in a handicap hurdle.
Mark O’Hare saddled the impressive five year old Whitsundays to victory earlier in the season and he trained and rode the winner of the opening race at Oldcastle this past weekend in the shape of Livelovelaugh. The four year old son of Beneficial made virtually all in a fast time to see off Mount Haven by six lengths. The gelding is related to some useful performers including Operation Houdini and looks likely to have a bright future under rules over staying trips.
The time wasn’t great but the Roisin Hickey-trained Champagne Present could do no more than win at the second time of asking in the opening four year old Maiden event at Kilmallock last Sunday. The Hickey yard had a nice four year old in the shape of Champagne Fever a few years ago and this son of Presenting made all to see off Work In Progress under Declan Queally. Champagne Present is unlikely to prove to be as good as Champagne Fever but he can make his mark in decent handicaps in time and looks more than capable of making his presence felt over hurdles next season.